If the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus changes its nature, the impact of Covid-19 infection on children may increase, said NITI Aayog member VK Paul on Tuesday. Two to three per cent of children may need hospitalisation, said Paul, who is also head of India’s Covid-19 task force, adding that the centre is keeping an eye on infections in children ahead of the third wave of covid.
Paul said the Health Ministry is preparing for pediatric doses. “Although children get mild Covid and only 2-3% children may need hospitalisation, we are preparing for it,” he said. “An expert group has been formed and new guidelines will be released,” he said at a health ministry press briefing.
“After six weeks of recovery, few children experience fever, body ache and may show a bleeding tendency. This is multi-system inflammation,” Paul warned.
‘No change in current vaccine strategy’
Commenting on the reports of change in the gap on Covishield doses, Pual said there is absolutely no change in the schedule of Covishield doses. “It will be two doses only. After the first Covishield dose is administered, the second dose will be given after 12 weeks. The same schedule is applicable to Covaxin.”
On mixing vaccine doses, Paul said there is a possibility of adverse reaction as well as a positive effect from mixing two separate doses of vaccines. “Studies need to be conducted. Till then, there will be no change in the current vaccine strategy.”
India has been seeing a decline in covid-19 cases since May 7, said Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health. “The country has recorded less than 2 lakh daily cases since May 28. Almost 69% decline in cases since the highest reported peak recorded on May 7,” Aggarwal said, adding that the daily positivity rate dropped to 6.62 per cent today, the lowest since April 1.
21.60 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country: 1.67 crore doses to health workers, 2.42 crore to frontline workers, 15.48 crore to people in 45 and above age group and 2.03 crore doses for those in 18-44 age group. “Recovered cases are more than daily cases now, with recoveries increasing to 92% now; 20 lakh tests on an average in one week,” said Aggarwal.
Commenting on the speed of vaccination, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bharghav said, “our population is four times the size of that of the United States. So we need to have patience.” Negating shortage of vaccines, he reiterated saying that India is one of the five vaccine producing countries in the world. “Soon we will have enough vaccines to cover the entire population,” he said.
“We need to maintain covid-appropriate behaviour till we can achieve herd immunity,” he added.